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Former Thai tourism chief jailed 50 years for Bangkok Film Festival bribes

The former Thailand official who took bribes from a Hollywood producer and his wife was sentenced to prison Wednesday by a court in Bangkok.

Ex-Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Juthamas Siriwan was sentenced to 50 years in prison. Her daughter Jittisopha was sentenced to 44 years.

They were convicted of taking $1.8 million in bribes from Gerald and Patricia Green. In return, Siriwan awarded the Greens contracts worth $13.5 million to produce the Bangkok International Film Festival between 2002 and 2007.

Siriwan, 70, and her daughter, 43, were being held while the Appeals Court decides if they’re entitled to bail.

The Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases also ordered them to forfeit 62.7 million baht ($1.8 million) in cash.

In 2009, a federal jury in Los Angeles found the Greens guilty of paying $1.8 million in bribes to Siriwan.

The Greens each served prison sentences of six months for FCPA offenses and money laundering. They were released in May 2011.

Gerald Green died in July 2015 in Los Angeles. He was 83.

In the United States, the DOJ indicted Siriwan and her daughter in January 2009. Each was charged with eight counts of conspiracy to launder money, transporting funds to promote unlawful activity, and aiding and abetting.

Neither was ever in U.S. custody.

Siriwan argued through her lawyers that a double jeopardy provision in the U.S. – Thai extradition treaty meant she couldn’t be put on trial in the United States if she was prosecuted for the same crimes in Thailand.

Judge George Wu in Los Angeles put the U.S. prosecution on hold after Thailand postponed Siriwan’s extradition and began to prepare charges against her and her daughter. 

Thai prosecutors charged them in August 2015.

Siriwan’s daughter opened accounts at several foreign banks. The Greens transferred $1.8 million into the accounts, the Thai court found.

The judge Wednesday said prosecutors had shown that the Greens won the sole rights to run the Bangkok Film Festival “despite lacking the necessary expertise, experience, or any related proven work record.”

The Greens paid the bribes via 59 money transfers to the accounts, the court said.

Siriwan denied handling the film festival contracts. She said she earned $1.8 million through various business deals with Gerald Green and not through bribery.

The judge imposed a sentence of 66 years on Siriwan. But under Thai law, she can only serve a maximum of 50 years because of her age, the Bangkok Post said

After the judge imposed the long prison sentences, Siriwan and her daughter asked for bail while they consider an appeal.

Prosecutors said they pose a flight risk.

Their bail request will be decided by the Appeals Court, probably within a few days.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.

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